Pakistan Tax Bar Association Challenges Mandatory 30% Payment for Appeals

The Pakistan Tax Bar Association (PTBA) is urging the government to withdraw a new regulation requiring a 30% upfront payment when filing appeals before the high court. The PTBA argues this restricts taxpayers’ fundamental right to appeal.

New Law Creates Hurdles for Tax Appeals

Following the enactment of the Tax Laws (Amendment) Act 2024, appeals exceeding specific thresholds for income tax, sales tax, and federal excise duty now require filing under new criteria. While the act aims to streamline tax revenue stuck in appeals, the PTBA argues it creates hurdles for taxpayers.

Missing Infrastructure Raises Concerns

The PTBA highlights that the act relies on the appointment of additional tribunal members under existing legislation. However, these appointments haven’t been made, leaving the core infrastructure for handling appeals incomplete. This, they argue, infringes on taxpayers’ rights.

PTBA Recommends Alternative Solutions

The PTBA proposes several alternatives:

  • Identify and Withdraw Resolved Cases: The FBR should identify and withdraw cases with final decisions from higher courts to reduce the appellate burden.
  • Oversight Committee for Assessment Standards: A committee should review assessments by tax officials to ensure quality and avoid redundant appeals based on settled issues.
  • Court Discretion on Appeal Stays: Instead of a mandatory 30% payment, courts should decide on stay applications based on the merits of each case.
  • FBR System Integration: Synchronizing FBR’s IRIS system with the ATIR appellate software would expedite case processing.

PTBA’s Recommendations Aim to Protect Appeal Rights and Streamline Process

The PTBA’s recommendations aim to protect taxpayers’ rights to appeal while also proposing measures to improve the efficiency of the tax appeals process in Pakistan.

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